Trilateral offices celebrate 35 years of co-operation, discuss ways to further advance patent systems worldwide

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30 March 2017

JPO Commissioner Yoshinori Komiya, EPO President Benoît Battistelli, and USPTO Director Michelle Lee

The heads of the EPO, the Japan Patent Office (JPO), and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), met in Seville, Spain this week, and signed a Memorandum of Understanding to continue their efforts to promote a more effective patent system at global level. The 35th annual Trilateral conference was preceded by a meeting between the offices and industry associations from the three regions to collect feedback from users of the patent system.

Looking back at 35 years of co-operation since the first Trilateral meeting was held in 1983, EPO President Benoît Battistelli said: "Our three offices have been at the forefront of international patent co-operation and work-sharing. From acquisition and exchange of data to common tools for classification, search and examination, our joint efforts have led to more efficient and higher quality patent procedures, which benefit both our offices and our users. And as a result, companies and inventors can increasingly expect to find similar procedures when patenting their inventions around the world."

The Trilateral Offices pioneered electronic data exchanges and set global standards in this area. Recent achievements of the Trilateral co-operation include the development and continued improvement of the Common Citation Document (CCD) service, which provides easy web access to results from patent searches carried out by multiple offices for the same invention. Another is the initiation and promotion of the Global Dossier initiative in the framework of the world's five largest intellectual property offices (IP5), which include the Trilateral offices plus the offices of China and Korea. The Global Dossier provides a one-stop shop for accessing information on all patent applications belonging to one patent family.

Under the MoU signed today, the three offices pledged in the coming year to continue discussions on substantive patent law harmonisation with industry in the three regions, improve their services to users further by exploring more secure and user-friendly options for priority document exchange, and support further developments in the five priority areas of the IP5 Global Dossier.

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